“By going to ”The Voice”, I wanted to stop being ashamed,” says Hervé, former member of Roger Louret’s troupe.

The face of Hervé, candidate whose blind audition in “The Voice” will be broadcast this Saturday on TF1, will perhaps say a few things to viewers. And for good reason, the artist began his career at the age of 19 in the mid-1990s in the Roger Louret company. For five years in The Tube Years, the variety show presented by Jean-Pierre Foucault, he surrounded the host with the other members of the troupe, including Christelle Chollet. “I had the chance to sing with Celine Dion, Lara Fabian, Phil Collins, Madonna, Mylène Farmer… It was an extraordinary experience, he recalls for 20 minutes. I was so unconscious at that age that I had no stage fright, despite the live. On the boards, he was also on the bill, among other shows by Roger Louret such as The Twist Years or The Zazous Years, but also Jean Marais’ last play, L’Arlesienne. His career also involves writing, for himself or for others, until the day he is diagnosed with a genetic disease condemning him to lose his sight. “I was at the bottom of the hole, it was terrible,” he says. His participation in “The Voice” is not limited to dreams of glory, as he explains to us.

It was in 2014 that you learned that you were going to lose your sight…

I played Fred in Scooby Doo on the scene. It was bars of laughter every day backstage, for five years. In the middle of the tour, in January 2014, during a routine medical visit – I was having my lenses renewed – the ophthalmologist detected spots at the bottom of my eyes. We did some more tests the next day and, out of the blue, he told me I had retinitis pigmentosa. He told me that it was a degenerative genetic disease and that I was going to lose my sight little by little, until I became blind. That’s 50 euros, thank you sir. I had to get back on tour, play this confident, happy guy… For me, it was hell. Fortunately, there were only five dates left. I was able to do them and then started the descent.

Have you put your career on hold?

The black hole, no pun intended, lasted quite a few years. Antidepressants, wanting to die… I didn’t know what to do with my life. I see photopsias, cells that, as they die, send nerve impulses to the brain. It’s as if I was in a disco with strobes, from morning to night, including when my eyes were closed. So for morale, it was and it’s not great… I can’t see anything except, in the center of my vision. I have to move my eyes a lot for my brain to capture an overall picture. I can’t see down or up or to the sides.

How do you live it on a daily basis?

This disease is treacherous because it is an invisible handicap. People don’t understand why I’m slower than others, why I can’t see a hand reaching out, why I’m clumsy…I’m over 80% disabled but I can read and make eye contact. Three weeks ago I got out of a disabled vehicle. A driver had taken me to play sports. I walked slowly, without my cane because I have small landmarks, and I looked at my phone. Someone started vociferating. He got in front of me, he spat on me, it got on my shoes, and he left. He thought I was faking, using the system. It’s my daily life.

How did you climb the slope?

The acceptance was very long. It lasted for years, and one day something clicked. My relatives encouraged me to resume writing. I said to myself “OK, you can’t do what you were doing before but, what if you continue to live? You are still on Earth for years, are you going to remain in this depressed state? No. ” I started writing again and it was an outlet. I wrote a song in thirty minutes at the time, which I just released, After the eclipse. She speaks of hope and resilience. I also wrote three pieces that are being read for a production, I wrote for Anny Duperey – who plays in the video for my song, she is one of the people in the business who supported me -, for the Tightrope walkers…

How did you end up participating in “The Voice”?

I didn’t feel entitled to do “The Voice”. I know I sing well, but I focus more on writing, on the universe. I didn’t think I had my place on the show. My relatives encouraged me to contact the casting director, Bruno Berberes. I told myself that it could kick me in the ass and that I could, at my very small level, be an example for people in difficulty.

You have chosen to sing “C’est beau la vie” by Jean Ferrat. For what ?

Admittedly, it’s a song that isn’t very “The Voice”, but it suits me. It seems written for me: “To still be able to watch, to still be able to listen and above all to be able to sing, how beautiful life is. Admittedly, there is no vocal explosion, but I wanted to convey a message. I also wanted to stop being ashamed. For years, I was ashamed of my condition because people had always seen me singing, dancing, and there I found myself handicapped, with a cane. It was hard to agree to ask for help.

By going to “The Voice”, you were back on stage for the first time since 2014. How did you feel?

I wanted going to “The Voice” to be a trigger, for there to be a before and after. Don’t be ashamed anymore. When I arrived on the set, in this cathedral silence, accompanied by someone towards the microphone, that’s it, I accepted. I was in full resilience. This made me decide to go back on stage. When I started to sing, I felt like my shoulders were growing and, on each side, were going to touch the audience. I was happy, everything was jostling in my head. I thought to myself that maybe I was in my place.

Without telling us the outcome of your hearing, what memories do you have of it?

I was very moved. It’s a giant step that I have taken. People can’t realize. As I had a step back, I could see the faces of the coaches and it was wonderful. I was happy to be allowed to speak. I felt liberated. Life goes on, I was able to get back on stage and I want to continue.

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